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Trump’s Muslim and Refugee Ban on Travel and Immigration FAQ

Photo credit ABC News.

Photo credit ABC News.

The following is based on the information known as of March 15, 2017 (2:00 pm PST). Trump issued a new travel ban on citizens from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.  Iraq, which was on the previous list, is now exempt.  The new ban, effective starting March 16, 2017, excludes people who hold U.S. green cards and valid U.S. visas, and it also reduces the ban on Syrian refugees to 120 days.  If you are a citizen of a designated country without dual passports, a U.S. visa, or a U.S. green card, it is advised that you do not leave the United States for the foreseeable future.  If you are outside the U.S., you should return immediately.  Please note that this is not formal legal advice and you should speak to an immigration lawyer before traveling or departing the United States.  This post will be updated as new information becomes available:

What countries are affected by Trump’s travel ban?

As of now, citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria (referred to as “designated countries”) are subject to the ban.

If I was born in a designated country, am I subject to the ban?

It depends, if you were born in a designated country and currently have citizenship in that country, you may be subject to the ban unless you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States (known as “green card”), you have a valid U.S. visa, or you also have dual citizenship with a non-designated country.

If I am a citizen of a designated country but I do not currently live there, am I subject to the ban?

Yes, you are subject to the ban simply by being a citizen of a designated country – unless you have a valid U.S. visa, U.S. green card or dual citizenship with a non-designated country.

If I travel to the United States directly from of one of the designated countries but I am not a citizen of, or born in, that country, am I subject to the ban?

You should not be subject to the ban simply because you just arrived from a designated country if you were not born there, or you are not a citizen of that country.  However, CBP has discretion so unless you are a U.S. citizen, you could still be subject to additional scrutiny.

If I have two passports – one from a designated country and the other from a non-designated country, am I subject to the ban?

A dual citizen of both a designated and non-designated country (e.g., dual Canadian-Iran citizen) would not be subject to the ban if you enter and present yourself with the non-designated country passport (e.g., present your Canadian passport instead of your Iranian passport).

If I am a dual citizen of the U.S. and of a designated country, am I subject to the ban?

No, a dual U.S. citizen (e.g., U.S.-Iran citizen),will not be subject to the ban. Be sure to enter and present your U.S. passport when entering the country.

If I have a green card (permanent residency), am I subject to the ban?

LPR’s (green card holders) are permitted to enter the United States absent any information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare.  Keep in mind that CBP can still exercise discretion in admitting a green card holder, so it is still advisable for anybody with a green card to refrain from traveling abroad for the foreseeable future.

If I have conditional residency through marriage to a U.S. citizen, am I subject to the ban?

Conditional residency and permanent residency appear to be treated equally with respect to the ban.  Green card holders (conditional and permanent residents) are now permitted to enter the United States.  Keep in mind that CBP can still exercise discretion in admitting a green card holder, so it is still advisable for anybody with a green card to refrain from traveling abroad for the foreseeable future.

Can a customs officer force me to surrender or give up my green card?

A customs officer may try to force you to sign Form I-407 stating that you have abandoned your U.S. residency and thus surrendering your green card.  Please be aware that you cannot be forced to sign this form – even if an officer pressures you to do so.  If you are faced with this situation, tell the officer that you are not going to sign the form and that you demand to be released because you are a lawful resident.  If the officer refuses, you should ask to have a hearing before an immigration judge.  This will afford you the opportunity to have an attorney argue your case.

If I have a visa to enter the United States, am I still subject to the ban?

No, if you are a citizen of a designated country with a valid U.S. visa, you are not subject to the ban.  Non-immigrant visas include, but are not limited to:  B-1/B-2 visitors; E-1/E-2 treaty trader/investor; F-1 student visas; H-1B work visas; J-1 visas; K-1 fiance visas; L-1 intra-company transfer visas; M-1 visas; O-1 visas; P-1 visas; R-1 religious visas; and all associated dependent visas.

If I am denied entry into the United States, what will happen to me?

You will either be asked to return to your home country, detained, or put into removal/deportation proceedings.

If I am currently in the United States and I am subject to the ban, may I travel abroad and still be permitted to re-enter?

It depends.  If you have a green card, visa, or you have a passport from a non-designated country, you may be able to leave and re-enter even if you are a citizen of one of the banned countries.  If you do not have a green card or visa, and are a citizen of a designated country only, do not travel abroad until further notice – even if it is an emergency.

Does it matter if I try to enter the United States by plane, boat, or car?

If you are a citizen of one of the designated countries and you do not have a green card, U.S. visa, U.S. citizenship, or dual citizenship with a non-designated country, you will be subject to the ban whether you attempt to enter via airplane, boat, or car.

If I have a green card and I am currently in the United States, is there anything I can do to avoid being subject to the ban?

If you are eligible to naturalize as a U.S. citizen, it may be advisable to do so as soon as possible. Generally speaking, a green card holder can naturalize if they have had their green cards for at least 5 years (3 years if the green cards were obtained through marriage), were physically present in the United States for at least half of that time, and who do not have any inadmissibility issues (e.g., criminal conviction, etc.).

Does the ban apply to inland applications being adjudicated by USCIS?

There are a lot of reports that USCIS is suspending applications by those who are citizens of a designated country.  For example, will the application by a citizen of a designated country with a pending adjustment of status (I-485) or change of status (I-539) be suspended?  There is no firm answer on this and we will update this post as new information becomes available.

If I am a citizen of a designated country and waiting for an immigration interview abroad, what will happen with my application?

The Department of State announced on January 30, 2017 that it has temporarily suspended all immigrant visa interviews at U.S. consulates abroad.  This includes family-based interviews, employment-based interviews, and K-1 fiance visa interviews.  This means that anyone who is scheduled for a “green card interview” at a U.S. consulate will have their applications put on hold indefinitely.  Note that this does not appear to include immigration applications (I-485 adjustment of status) for those currently in the United States.

Contact us at (310) 591-8200 or (888) 228-4525 if you have any questions.